There is an obvious product-free subset of the symmetric group of density 1/2, but what about the alternating group? An argument of Gowers shows that a product-free subset of the alternating group can have density at most n^(-1/3), but we only know examples of density n^(-1/2 + o(1)). We'll talk about why in fact n^(-1/2 + o(1)) is the right answer, why

Gowers's argument can't prove that, and how this all fits in with a more general 'product mixing' phenomenon. Our tools include some nonabelian Fourier analysis, a version of entropy subadditivity adapted to the symmetric group, and a concentration-of-measure result for rearrangements of inner products.

# Past Combinatorial Theory Seminar

The chromatic number of the Erdős–Rényi random graph G(n,p) has been an intensely studied subject since at least the 1970s. A celebrated breakthrough by Bollobás in 1987 first established the asymptotic value of the chromatic number of G(n,1/2), and a considerable amount of effort has since been spent on refining Bollobás' approach, resulting in increasingly accurate bounds. Despite this, up until now there has been a gap of size O(1) in the denominator between the best known upper and lower bounds for the chromatic number of dense random graphs G(n,p) where p is constant. In contrast, much more is known in the sparse case.

In this talk, new upper and lower bounds for the chromatic number of G(n,p) where p is constant will be presented which match each other up to a term of size o(1) in the denominator. In particular, they narrow down the optimal colouring rate, defined as the average colour class size in a colouring with the minimum number of colours, to an interval of length o(1). These bounds were obtained through a careful application of the second moment method rather than a variant of Bollobás' method. Somewhat surprisingly, the behaviour of the chromatic number changes around p=1-1/e^2, with a different limiting effect being dominant below and above this value.

Fix some positive integer r. A famous theorem of Schur states that if you partition Z/pZ into r colour classes then, provided p > p_0(r) is sufficiently large, there is a monochromatic triple {x, y, x + y}. By essentially the same argument there is also a monochromatic triple {x', y', x'y'}. Recently, Tom Sanders and I showed that in fact there is a

monochromatic quadruple {x, y, x+y, xy}. I will discuss some aspects of the proof.

A "hole" in a graph is an induced subgraph which is a cycle of length > 3. The perfect graph theorem says that if a graph has no odd holes and no odd antiholes (the complement of a hole), then its chromatic number equals its clique number; but unrestricted graphs can have clique number two and arbitrarily large chromatic number. There is a nice question half-way between them - for which classes of graphs is it true that a bound on clique number implies some (larger) bound on chromatic number? Call this being "chi-bounded".

Gyarfas proposed several conjectures of this form in 1985, and recently there has been significant progress on them. For instance, he conjectured

- graphs with no odd hole are chi-bounded (this is true);
- graphs with no hole of length >100 are chi-bounded (this is true);
- graphs with no odd hole of length >100 are chi-bounded; this is still open but true for triangle-free graphs.

We survey this and several related results. This is joint with Alex Scott and partly with Maria Chudnovsky.

It is easy to see that if a tournament (a complete oriented graph) has a directed cycle then it has a directed 3-cycle. We investigate the analogous question for 3-tournaments, and more generally for oriented 3-graphs.

Cycles are fundamental objects in graph theory. A spanning cycle in a graph is also called a Hamiltonian cycle. The celebrated Dirac's Theorem in 1952 shows that every graph on $n\ge 3$ vertices with minimum degree at least $n/2$ contains a Hamiltonian cycle. In recent years, there has been a strong focus on extending Dirac’s Theorem to hypergraphs. We survey the results along the line and mention some recent progress on this problem. Joint work with Yi Zhao.

What is the probability that the number of triangles in an Erdős–Rényi random graph exceeds its mean by a constant factor? In this talk, I will discuss some recent progress on this problem.

Already the order in the exponent of the tail probability was a long standing open problem until several years ago when it was solved by DeMarco and Kahn, and independently by Chatterjee. We now wish to determine the exponential rate of the tail probability. Thanks for the works of Chatterjee--Varadhan (dense setting) and Chatterjee--Dembo (sparse setting), this large deviations problem reduces to a natural variational problem. We solve this variational problem asymptotically, thereby determining the large deviation rate, which is valid at least for p > 1/n^c for some c > 0.

Based on joint work with Bhaswar Bhattacharya, Shirshendu Ganguly, and Eyal Lubetzky.

We discuss a new setting of algorithmic problems in random graphs, studying the minimum number of queries one needs to ask about the adjacency between pairs of vertices of $G(n,p)$ in order to typically find a subgraph possessing a certain structure. More specifically, given a monotone property of graphs $P$, we consider $G(n,p)$ where $p$ is above the threshold probability for $P$ and look for adaptive algorithms which query significantly less than all pairs of vertices in order to reveal that the property $P$ holds with high probability. In this talk we focus particularly on the properties of containing a Hamilton cycle and containing paths of linear size. The talk is based on joint work with Asaf Ferber, Michael Krivelevich and Benny Sudakov.

The Erdős–Ko–Rado theorem is a central result in extremal set theory which tells us how large uniform intersecting families can be. In this talk, I shall discuss some recent results concerning the 'stability' of this result. One possible formulation of the Erdős–Ko–Rado theorem is the following: if $n \ge 2r$, then the size of the largest independent set of the Kneser graph $K(n,r)$ is $\binom{n-1}{r-1}$, where $K(n,r)$ is the graph on the family of $r$-element subsets of $\{1,\dots,n\}$ in which two sets are adjacent if and only if they are disjoint. The following will be the question of interest. Delete the edges of the Kneser graph with some probability, independently of each other: is the independence number of this random graph equal to the independence number of the Kneser graph itself? I shall discuss an affirmative answer to this question in a few different regimes. Joint work with Bollobás and Raigorodskii, and Balogh and Bollobás.

A system of linear equations with integer coefficients is partition regular if, whenever the natural numbers are finitely coloured, there is a monochromatic solution. The finite partition regular systems were completely characterised by Rado in terms of a simple property of their matrix of coefficients. As a result, finite partition regular systems are very well understood.

Much less is known about infinite systems. In fact, only a very few families of infinite partition regular systems are known. I'll explain a relatively new method of constructing infinite partition regular systems, and describe how it has been applied to settle some basic questions in the area.